Friday, October 30, 2009

Pet Peeves about Christianity and Sports

What is it with Christians and Sports? I like sports just as much as the next guy, but contra Al Mohler, I think I'm about ready for the separation of church and sports. Rather than make this a research paper for which I've done no research, let's turn this into a list of pet peeves:

1) The rape of Philippians 4:13

Sorry to bust any bubbles, but Philippians 4:13 has to do with contentment, not with God guaranteeing sports victories. I know we are supposed to like Tim Tebow for wearing patches under his eyes with Philippians 4:13, but it seriously bugs me. I was going to say that Tebow bugs me until I found this when I was looking for a picture of his Scripture abuse. Thanks Tebow for killing my point, but I refuse to back down. This verse is not a promise for accomplishing great things on the football field. Please quit using it as such.

2) Praying for sports victories

Hmmm... so does God reward whichever team prays harder? I used to get this a lot from my kids, but I always refused to do it, so it happens less frequently these days.

I remember once as a kid skipping sunday night church to watch an nba finals game. I was thoroughly convinced it was my fault the bulls beat the jazz. I felt like I should write a letter of apology to John Stockton and Karl Malone.

3) Making every sports contest a battle between good and evil.

I guess I'm still convinced the Lakers are Satan's team. I've lost my moral authority on this one. Moving on...

4) Every Christian school team having some lame team name from the Bible.

Like the Eagles (taking Isaiah out of context), or the Crusaders (seriously?), or the Saints (better, if you're Catholic). I guess it could get worse. You could be the Flames!

5) Sports Illustrations in Sermons

I don't think there's anything wrong with them in moderation, but I feel like they are way overused. What do you think?

6) The Obligatory "Praise God" comment when you win

Some of you might be ready to flay me for getting bugged my this but I have to admit that it bugs me how most athletes give God credit after they win. I think it is wholly appropriate to praise and glorify God for everything he has given you, including your physical abilities and talents, but it bugs me when God's goodness is proved by a sports victory. What about the the Christians on the other team? Is God any less good because they lost? I find it hard to articulate what all bothers me here, but I think there is something seriously off in our thinking here quite often.

7) Christians enjoying sports that promote violence and a somewhat low view of human life.

Boxing, MMA, Nascar, etc.... It seems to me that we are a little inconsistent to talk about the sanctity of human life and be big on sports that are willing to put human lives at severe risk for entertainment purposes. I do like football, so it is possible I'm being a hypocrite here, but I do feel like it is in a different category than those I listed.

I think the essence of what bothers me is that I feel like God is being used as a good luck charm. That's about as succinct as I get.

Feedback, either positive or negative, is welcome


Sabrina said...

Okay, here's what I think.

Sports are not all they are cut out to be, and I get tired of people constantly talking about them.

My favorite sport is gymnastics. :)

Also, did you know that ballerinas are the greatest athletes ever? Even more so than football players.

I'll stop annoying you now.

Mr.Tyguy said...

Matt, you're so grumpy. :o)

Okay, got to disagree with #5. I think sermons should engage the culture and our culture is very sports and competition oriented... just look at how many of our expressions involve sports metaphors. If you look at Chinese culture on the other hand, almost all of their sayings have to do with food.

Also, I am sorry but I really like MMA. In fact, I've trained a friend for an MMA fight. I don't like all the people involved in the sport but I certainly enjoy it for the mental, physical, and strategic aspects.

But I do agree that things like NASCAR devalue people. NASCAR has done very little to address accidents because of the entertainment value of watching cars crash.

theone withabeard said...

I think that the over-spirtualization of sports competition and victories comes from an overly inflated view of their importance. And maybe there is a little sense of relief when Christian sports stars (or any other celebrity) speaks about their faith - then someone who people really listen to has done the evangelism work, and I can cheer them on from my seat in the stands...(do you smell a metaphor?)

Brenda said...

what is abt certain bloggers and grumpiness? yo, don't be bagging on one of my favorite pastimes:

Scripture Zealot said...

I know this reply is really late. Thanks for the link to my post.

I agree with all your points except possibly #7. Paul used the analogy of boxing. I'm not sure if that means he condones it or not but I'm inclined to think he does. I used to be horrified by MMA but can see how much of a sport it is now. I see your point though.

Regarding #5, most women are totally lost on those.

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Tacoma, Washington, United States
"It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt." Fyodor Dostoevsky. I'm a Northwest Baptist Seminary graduate (MDiv) and current student (ThM). I plan on someday going to Africa and teach Bible and Theology at a Bible College or Seminary level. I hope to continue my studies and earn a PhD, either after I go to overseas for a few years or before. I'm a theological conservative, but I like to think outside of the box and challenge conventional thinking and consider myself a free thinker. I am currently serving in my fourth year as a Youth Pastor at Prairie Baptist Fellowship in Yelm Washington. My blogs will reflect my thoughts on both seminary and ministry life, though not (of course) exclusively. I enjoy literature and occasionally try my hand at writing stories and poems. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." Paul